There is no denying that social media is a top tool for promoting your business. Don’t even get us started on the fact that it’s free. Adults spend an average of 95 minutes per day on social media. You likely do, too, whether it's on personal accounts or business.
Brand discovery from online sources is done through social media 52% of the time. There is so much potential, but how do you get started? What should you post? Look no further. We’ve got you.
Social Media: What’s in a name?
First, the key is in the name: social. Social media is not the place to stick a flyer in your feed and walk away like you’ve stuck it on a telephone pole. This isn’t about big flashy signs shouting, “YARD SALE” in the largest font you can fit on the page.
Social media is about building connections with your audience. If you think about it more like that, rather than a free place to show off your flyers and commercials, you’ll go a lot further. People are able to spot an ad faster than you can say "Meta." 40% of users are blocking ads. That doesn't mean you don't advertise or use social media marketing. It just means you have to do it differently than we've seen it done in the past.
Gone are the days of your favourite show being interrupted by a commercial that's twice as loud with bright colours and a pseudo-celebrity. These days we can skip, scroll, block or unfollow.
This is a place for people to get familiar with you and with your brand. Will you show off your products and services? Absolutely. But that is secondary to showing yourself and your brand values.
Finding Your Social Media Audience
What is your business type? Search others within your niche and get an idea for what they’re doing (and make sure it’s working by seeing if it’s getting lots of likes, comments and followers). See who’s following them and maybe add some to your own Following list.
Within your business, who is your ideal customer? Check out some accounts that classify as your ideal customer and check out their content and who they follow. You will start to get an idea for what you should be doing. And don’t be afraid to give a follow! This isn’t a closed community, and everyone has to start somewhere.
You’ve started building an audience. Now what?
You should probably introduce yourself. Use a picture of yourself that gives context to what you do. Or, even better, make a video introducing yourself. If you work with others, maybe show them off too and introduce them in later posts.
Don’t worry about making something fancy. Don’t get distracted by the pros. Use the tools and know-how you have now. You have all the ingredients you need and people love authenticity.
Tell your audience your name, where you’re located, why you’re passionate about your business and share your expertise. Be yourself, have fun and don’t fret about making mistakes.
And don’t think you introduce yourself once and that’s it. You should do this every few months or so, change it up, make it new, and let your new followers know who you are and what they’re in for.
Show your audience around your business. Take them on a guided tour so they get a better idea of what you offer and the type of space to expect if they show up in person. This all goes into allowing your audience to become more familiar with you and your business. We find comfort and safety in what’s familiar, and that’s exactly how you want your audience to feel.
Post information on your social media
It’s always a good idea to plan, and maybe even schedule posts in advance. Grab your phone, or if you like taking notes in a notebook, grab one and make a list of tips associated with your business. What information can you offer? Don’t assume that anyone knows as much as you do. The most simple tip could be the very thing someone needed to hear.
Create videos explaining and showing the tips and tricks to show your audience exactly what they need to do.
As a business owner, you are a problem-solver for your customers and clients. Think about the problems customers come to you with and give them the solution, right on your social media page.
Want some examples from our favourite sharer of tips and tricks? Check them out.
Connect on Your Social Media
A lot of connecting is done through engagement, but it can be done through posts and stories, too. Have you had an interaction, professional or personal, with another small business? Highlight it on your social media and give them a shoutout. Social media favours community over competition. We all love to see people come together and help each other.
You can also use customer or audience questions and answer them in posts as a way to connect. What has someone recently asked you in-person or on social media? No doubt there are others with the same question. If it’s appropriate, take the person in your post.
We think this account does an awesome job with this.
After you Inform and Connect, then you can Sell
You should show your audience what you offer. But show it in context. Use your brand and your personality when showing it off, rather than something that looks like it came out of a magazine.
Have you added something new to your menu? Got a new product in? Show it off.
There are several ways you can do this. You can create a video or static post. You can share it in your stories. The best option though, is to go Live when you’re unboxing the new stuff. This gives your audience a sneak peek which creates exclusivity. It also means that your account will get bumped to top-centre in front of your audience, letting them know that you’re Live.
Our favourite account that shows what they offer without a big billboard sign? Right here.
Use Stories, Live, Reels
Not all platforms have all of these features. TikTok has a Live option for accounts with over 1000 followers, and an option for Stories for all accounts. Facebook and Instagram allow you to post stories, go live and share Reels. Stories are a great way to try out new content, to take more risks and make mistakes whether you’re talking, dancing, touring— they can only be viewed for 24 hours. Over 500 million Instagram-users use stories daily.
Stories on Instagram also have options for adding captions, adding stickers and even a link. This is a great place to advertise limited offers and sales.
Reels are great to reach people on Facebook and Instagram who are not following you yet. The great thing about TikTok is that it does this naturally with its For You Page.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable on social media
We all follow a few robotic accounts, but mostly we are in search of real people that we can connect with. As humans, we connect through our emotions. You don’t have to pour your heart out, share your sob-story and reveal your deepest darkest secrets. However, bringing your audience into your life, like a good friend you share the good and the bad with? That’s something we can all connect to.
Share a day-in-the-life, take us to your favourite coffee shop, show us what your desk looks like. Tell us your favourite and least favourite parts of the business, however small they might be.
Tagging and Hashtags
Once you have some ideas about what to post and where, there are a few technical tools that will help push your posts further, for free.
These tools are tagging and hashtags. They sound similar, but they have different uses and symbols.
Tagging uses the @ symbol. This is used to connect other accounts to your post. Let's say you went to your favourite coffee shop, snapped a photo and wanted to let them know on your social media how much you loved your coffee.
You can tag or mention the account in your caption by starting with the @ symbol and typing their name. This notifies their account and they can share it with their followers, so your account is seen by their audience as well.
When uploading your post, you'll also see that you can add a location. This is a great way of placing your business, so if people are looking at posts in your location. You can add your address as a location, or the broader town or community, which will allow more people to see it.
Hashtags create a lot of confusion, so we will simplify as best we can. They use the # symbol. They can create other links to your post, but more importantly, they give social media platforms more information to understand what your post is about. This helps to connect you with your ideal customer. Think of using local hashtags, (like #perthontario), and ones that simply and specifically state what your post contains.
Don’t underestimate your bio, name and a clickable link!
Make your name the name of your business (okay, you probably knew that already!) and add what the business is, if it’s not in the title. For instance, Cat’s Cove Communications suggests we are a communications company, which is true, but we added “Digital Marketing Agency,” to make it a bit more clear. This also becomes helpful if someone is searching social media for a digital marketing agency.
Your bio is one of the first things people will see when they go to your profile. Make it original and use your brand voice to tie everything together.
Make sure you have a link to your website.* If you have multiple pages you want to direct people to, consider using Taplink or Linktree and other websites to create a list for you. We use our to connect people with our recent blogs, YouTube channel, contact info, and much more.
*In order to do this, make sure you have a business account on TikTok and Instagram.
Like most things, the more you use social media the more comfortable you will become. It is necessary for businesses in 2022 to use social media. Start with one platform, and add as many as you are able to handle, remembering that you can use content for one platform on another.
Once you think you're out of ideas, here is our 7 step process for creating more content.